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PRESENT STATUS OF INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN AUSTRIA.
In its general outlines the system of education in Austria is almost identical with that of Germany. Its machinery consists of a series of schools, supported wholly or in part by the municipal authority, by the government, or by local societies. There are, for example, kindergartens, primary schools, intermediate, manual training, trade, real, and high schools, gymnasia, etc., forming successive gradations calculated to facilitate the pupil's progress through all the stages of his physical and mental development from infancy to maturity. The relation between the several consecutive grades, however, is not so close as this statement, if left unqualified, might lead one to infer. In Austria, as in nearly all civilized lands, there is a gap between the kindergarten and the primary school (Volksschule).
Herr Riss, of Vienna, a member of the provincial diet, who, in the capacity of delegate from Austria, attended the manual training congress held at Munich, September 22 and 23, 1888, and made an interesting report before that body of educators upon the condition of the work school movement in Austria, referred on that occasion to this defect in the school system of his native land.
None but boys from 11 to 14 years of age are now admitted to the school shops supported by the association for the establishment and maintenance of school workshops in Cisleithania (a).
The association fully recognizes the existence of the chasm in the system, extending from the first to the fourth class of the primary school; and it is of the opinion that the aims of educational hand work can never be attained until they are expanded in both directions so as to embrace the kindergarten system of Froebel and all grades above it from the first class of the primary school to the highest class of the citizens' school (Bürgerschule). It is, according to Herr Riss, a matter for regret that the Austrian schools are not today in a condition to reduce to practical effect this ideal.
The object of the school workshops is, first of all, pedagogic. The aim is to hold the shops in strict and intimate relation with the school
a Cisleithania, this side of the Leytha--a river of that name forming a part of the boundary between Austria and Hungary-is a local appellation of Austria, used to distinguish that country from Transleithania, that is, Hungary.
of theoretical instruction, and it is believed that this purpose is best subserved by selecting for shop construction such objects as the pupil studies about in the school. Naturally, the choice of objects depends upon the kind of school to which the pupil belongs. As has been indicated, the Austrian system is not a rigid one, but is adjustable to varying conditions and circumstances.
Without presuming to decide which method is to be preferred, we note the difference between this system of imparting manual instruction in shops separate and apart from the school, and the method pursued in the manual training schools, for example, at Saint Louis, Chicago, and elsewhere in this country, where shop practice and the ordinary studies of the high school grade are taught conjointly under one roof, and, for the most part, by the same teachers. In Austria no attempt is made to combine in the same institution the discipline of shop work and tuition in the academic branches of the public schools.
In the Austrian school shops, according to Herr Riss, the boys are taught modelling in clay, wood carving, carpentry (bench work), and card work. Each of these exercises, it is explained, has a distinctive educational idea behind it. The first two branches serve to broaden and deepen the knowledge of drawing acquired by the pupil at school. Physical training is the main purpose of carpentry, while card work affords illustrations of the applications of geometry.
The first school shop in Vienna was instituted by the aforementioned association in the Neubau district August 10, 1883. It opened with 60 pupils, classed in two divisions. The second school shop followed on February 16, 1887, with 40 pupils. The erection of school shops is now looked forward to in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and eighth districts of Vienna. In the ninth and tenth districts shops are maintained by other societies, whose discipline differs in some respects.
In Simmering, two miles below Vienna, a school shop, patterned after those in Vienna, has been founded through the initiative and sacrifice of the teacher. Wiener Neustadt, the second largest city of Lower Austria, bas, by authority of the diet of Lower Austria, opened a school shop in the teachers' seminary, located there under the directorship of one of the Vienna pupils. School shops have also been recently established at Grätz, Lemberg, Troppau, Bielitz, Niemes, Prague, and Reichenberg, some conducted and equipped according to the Swedish model, but most of them formed on the Vienna system. At Prague, during the vacation time of the school year 1887, a three weeks' course in card work was carried out.
As long ago as 1884, however, a course of manual training for teachers was opened in Vienna. Beginning October 1, in that year, it continued until the end of March 1885, and thirty teachers from Vienna and its suburbs received instruction during the course. The time allotted to work was two hours and a half on two evenings in the week.
Since then this teachers' course has been maintained every year, and,
in all, one hundred and forty teachers from Vienna and its vicinity have enjoyed the advantages of the instruction. During the vacation season of 1887 (from July 18 to August 22) a five weeks' course was conducted in Vienna, open to the teachers from all the provinces of the Cisleithanian half of the empire. Ninety-nine teachers attended this vacation course, of whom 38 were from Bohemia; 10 from Moravia; 13 from Galicia; 5 from Silesia; 16 from Lower Austria; 2 from Upper Austria; 1 from Carinthia; 7 from Carniola; 2 from the Tyrol; and 5 from Kiistenland. This shows the lively interest felt by the profession in Austria in the promotion of this branch of instruction.
During the summer course of 1888, 28 citizen school teachers and primary school teachers were in attendance, together with 1 imperial district school inspector, 2 teachers of practice schools, and 1 director of a citizens' school. The working time in this course was seven hours a day, and each hearer was required to choose a principal and a subordinate specialty. It should be added that these teachers worked with untiring zeal, practising both before and after the appointed hours. Almost all of those pursuing the course of 1888 enrolled themselves for the next vacation session. The state grants a subvention for the six months teachers' course of 300 florins ($102.30) a week, and the same sum is now appropriated, through the ministry of instruction, for the vacation course. Royalty, also, has manifested a personal interest in the work of the association, his majesty Emperor Franz Josef I. contributing 200 florins (08.20) towards its support in 1888.
The association now has more than 300 members, all of whom are active and earnest in promoting the establishment of the school shops.
The teachers of Vienna and, so far as can be ascertained, of Austria, are, by a great majority, friendly to manual training; and the people, so far as public opinion can be known, are in sympathy with the new branch of instruction, recognizing fully the advantages which their children derive from it.
Speaking of the future work of the association, Herr Riss said:
I believe that the association, which has so far confined its activities to Vienna, should now change its tactics, and in the future work for the spread of its cause throughout all Cisleithania by the organization of local associations, by newspaper articles and pamphlets, by aiding in the equipment of school shops, etc.
In this way the promise which I made at Magdeburg last year will be kept, that Vienna, as the most southerly point and centre of the manual training propaganda, will do her full duty.
In conclusion, Herr Riss said:
Vienna and Cisleithania will labor indefatigably, in concert with Sweden, France, and Germany, for the extension and promotion of manual training.
From the official and authoritative statement of Herr Riss we turn to consider next the history of the manual training system in certain municipalities of Austria.
S. Ex. 65—10